Sebewa Recollector
Items of Genealogical Interest

Volume 25 Number 4
Transcribed by LaVonne I. Bennett

     LaVonne has received permission from Grayden Slowins to edit and submit Sebewa Recollector items of genealogical interest, from the beginning year of 1965 through current editions.

THE SEBEWA RECOLLECTOR - Bulletin of The Sebewa Center Association.
FEBRUARY 1990, Volume 25, Number 4. Submitted with written permission of current Editor Grayden D. Slowins:


First we note the death of Andrew L. Stoel at Williston, Florida, where he had lived since 1968. He had attended the Sebewa Center School and Lake Odessa High School. His family and two brothers survive viz Raymond of Denver and Gerald of Sebewa.

Recently Wilbur Gierman, while going through some of his Mother’s relics, came across this business card of his great grandfather, Theodore Gunn. Together we have put together the story that goes with it. Some quotations from the Portland Observer are helpful as well as an excerpt from the 1890 Ionia County Album recounting Joshua’s life.

BUSINESS CARD: “GUNN BROTHERS, Portland, Michigan. Cutting Hard Wood Lumber, Ash, Basswood, Grained Oak, Cherry, Black Walnut, Rock Elm, & C. PLEASE GIVE US A CALL.”

September 19, 1869 was the day on which Joshua Gunn and Miss Rachel Rider were married.
Turning to a couple of items from The Portland Observer we have:
May 18, 1881---Messrs Gunn Bros. haul their lumber to Portland and ship by rail about a million board feet annually.
November 11, 1882---We understand Mr. Theodore Gunn has shipped his sawmill to Pine Lake. He removed it to the railroad last week.

Another item tells of dismantling the building of the Gunn mill and its being hauled to the Staples farm for use in erecting the Staples cane mill where cane sirup was to be made.
Theodore Gunn rented his farm to his son-in-law and moved his family to Pine Lake as did Henry Pettingill and some others from Sebewa. Wilbur explains that Pine Lake was at or near East Jordan at the lower part of Lake Charlevoix.
Miss Ella Gunn remembered seeing sail boats come in to be loaded with lumber for shipment. Pictured below is the mill crew and the building housing the sawmill.

OUR EUROPEAN TRIP by Grayden Slowins

June 25, 1989, was our 35th Wedding Anniversary and we had been planning a trip to Europe, especially Switzerland, for most of those 35 years. So Wednesday, July 5, we left Detroit Metro Airport on Pan Am Flight 054 at 6:10 PM, non-stop to London. We had dinner & breakfast on the plane and tried to sleep in between. Ann had flown to Los Angeles two years before, but this was my first flight. We took Antivert to avoid air sickness, but were a bit apprehensive, especially when the plane was delayed in loading and takeoff. The real discomfort was pressure and popping in the ears, which gave me an ear-ache for a couple of days.

Arriving in London on Thursday morning, we were met by a Brendan Tours hostess, who put us in a taxi to Novetel London, in the Hammersmith & West Kensington area. After lunch we took an optional bus tour to Windsor Castle, about 20 miles west of London. It has been home to British Royalty since William-the-Conqueror came in 1066. It was beautiful inside and out. Almost every monarch has added something to the structure and Victoria’s statue guards the gate.

Friday morning we had a guided bus tour of London. Then on our own via “Underground” (Subway is simply a tunnel for crossing the busy street) to St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, the largest in London, where Diana & Charles were married. Took photo of Ann with statue of Queen Anne-the-Good out front. Got some beautiful pictures inside, especially of the organ, choir loft, and transept.

At 5:30 PM we met our main tour guide, Patricia, at the hotel and headed for Harwich on the North Sea. Then overnight on the ship Koningin Beatrix (Queen Beatrice) to Hoek Van Holland. After dinner and sleep on the ship and an early breakfast Saturday, we disembarked, passed thru customs, and boarded our nice bus with driver Ari and 37 other tourists, to Amsterdam. There were many youthful travelers on the ship who did not book a cabin, but simply slept everywhere in the halls and lounges with their sleeping bags.

The hundreds of acres of glass greenhouses were unbelievable. Then we began to see Dutch Texel sheep on pasture everywhere. They resemble Dorsets in body, but their ears are more like a North Country Cheviot or a Montadale. We also saw tame rabbits pasturing in a large flock. Friesen cattle (Don’t call them Holsteins!!:) pastured everywhere. Another black & white breed, which we call Dutch-belted, are called something else in Dutch. Many of the fences are small canals or ditches and they move the animals to pasture by small boat with stockracks like our trailers.

Next a tour of Amsterdam by canal boat. Many of the buildings along the canals were built for home industries and have several stories with a freight door at each level and a hoisting beam-and-pulley at the peak for “Removals”. Most are homes or apartments now and there is one lane of traffic on the 20 ft. strip of land on each side of the canal, plus a parking lane. The ancient arched stone bridges are works of art.

Most buildings rest on pilings driven into the sea bottom. Willow is used for this, because it is resistant to water. Then a tour of a diamond-cutting factory and the Rijksmuseum with it’s many Rembrandts, the Dutch Masters, etc. Also an early church organ and a stained glass window portrait of Dutch organist, Sweelinck.

Next to Volendam, a small fishing and sailing resort village built behind the dikes on the Zuider Zee. And to Edam & Zaanstad & Purmerend, where cheeses are made in cottage industries and windmills still grind away and wooden shoes are made by lathe from willow wood, which is light weight, workable, and water resistant. Our hotel for the night was 10 ft. below sea level! Boats were tied along the canals by each house like we park cars. Also there were bike paths everywhere, with a centerline for two-way traffic.

“Amsterdam has been the capital for the last 200 years already – since Louis Napoleon, brother of Bonepart, was king!” said Patricia. For the last 150 years they have been ruled by queens. “We love her and say that if we become a democracy, we will elect her president!” But now there is a royal son and heir to the throne. Amsterdam is named for a dam on the river Amstel, first built in the year 1270. The Dutch West India Company was headquartered here and sent it’s most famous governor of New Amsterdam, Peter Stuyvesant, from here. The canals are the city’s sanitary sewer system and get “flushed” 5 times a week. For reasons of fire prevention, all houses but two are built of brick.

On to Cologne, Germany, and the famous twin-spired cathedral with it’s great pipe organ. We got to hear it finish playing the Sunday Service at noon and then walked around and took photos. It began to rain just as we photographed the Glockenspiel performance across the street, so we found a welcome refuge and lunch at McDonald’s next door. Only a small area of the stone façade was damaged by WWII and has been left to show the exposed bricks behind it.

We traveled thru 2000-year-old Bonn, now the capital of West Germany. Then an afternoon cruise on the Rhine showed us many beautiful castles, villages, and vineyards. A tour of beautiful old Heidelberg Holiday Inn, one of the nicest hotels and dining facilities we had. Photographed Kaiser Wilhelm II’s portrait on the lobby wall. He was, after all, the grandson of Queen Victoria and not an evil man like Hitler. And he was their last monarch, which stirs a bit of nostalgia. Outside our bedroom window we could see and smell a freshly combined wheat field.

Monday took us to the ancient city of Rothenburg, with lots of crafts to shop and Black Forest Cake to eat! We saw people cutting hay with a sickle-bar mower and then forking it onto a wagon or gathering the hay and straw with a front mounted, three-point, pickup attachment – a thrower, not a chopper. The largest tractors in Europe were not over 60-65 HP, usually Massey-Ferguson, Deutz-Allis, or Case-International. We stopped in a small town called Meitingen, really just a cluster of low-roofed barn-houses, for a drink called Spaetze. It was made by mixing Cola and Fanta Orange half and half. This gave us a chance to photo the farm buildings and machinery close up. The sheep in Germany were like our crossbreds, with black and white spotted faces. Then on to Munich, capital of the German State of Bavaria, to spend two nights.

Tuesday, we toured Old Pinakothek Art Museum with it’s collection of Rubens and other great masters. Especially appropriate for us was Rubens’ “Schaefer Stunde” (Shepherd’s Hour). The maiden appears to push the shepherd away, yet holds onto him with both hands! Toured the other public buildings of this old capital city, including Nymphenburg Castle and the Olympic Tower. Also several old churches here, as we had at Rothenburg, and another Glockenspiel.

Wednesday we left Munich early for trip to Oberammergau and more shopping. Bought an Alpine hat here. Oberammergau has put on Christ’s Passion Play every 10 years for 350 years, as thanks to God for saving them from the Black Plague. Every resident of the little town has a part in the play and gets to be on stage – at least as an extra, even the sheep and Brown Swiss Cows. Guests stay in private homes, eat there, and get their tickets for the play there. The next event will be in 1990. Then to two of King Ludwig II’s three castles: Linderhof – which we toured, and Neuschwanstein – which we didn’t (too much climbing for tour groups). Also saw Hohenschwangau castle, home of Ludwig’s parents. His third castle we had seen on an island in the Rhine. Ludwig was the last King of Bavaria before they joined the German Unification in 1871.

Thru the Black Forest of Bavarian Alps and a corner of Austria. We saw the entire country of Liechtenstein and it’s capital, Vaduz, in about 5 minutes. There are 9 villages and we didn’t visit all of them. Their ruler, Prince Hans Adam, is also the banker, and the entire government is located in a building about the size of Hall-Fowler Library in Ionia. Liechtenstein uses the same money and same army as Switzerland. During our entire trip we changed our dollars 5 times; British Pounds, Dutch Guilders, German Marks, Swiss Francs, and French Francs. Brought home some of the smaller coins as souvenirs, especially Swiss. Most of the larger denominations are paper. The true name of Switzerland is The Confederation of Helvetica.

It is sometimes said that Switzerland is always neutral and has no army. The more accurate statement is “Switzerland IS an army!” All able-bodied males aged 18-55 and many women volunteers are in the 650,000 person army. They train 3-4 weeks every two years and their salary is paid by their regular employer, just like vacation pay. Then they take their uniforms and weapons home with them. You may laugh to see a man or woman riding off to defend their country on a bicycle, with an anti-tank gun strapped to their back; but don’t laugh if you are riding in a tank at the time! Their weapons are as accurate as their watches!

There are fortifications which can rise up from steel covers in the pavement of all major freeways and other highways around the country. The median dividers recede into the pavement to provide take-off strips for planes. There are underground shelters with beds, food, and medical supplies for 85% of the population to survive several years. The military bicycles are 3-speed models that can carry a soldier with 65 pounds gear on their back. Horses are also drafted, as were the Mennonite horses in our War of 1812. They even have career army Carrier Pigeons!

No-one has attacked Switzerland since Napoleon tried it 200 years ago. And he only conquered the valleys, no-one has ever conquered the Alps in 1000 years of trying. Today most neighbor countries have too much money in Swiss Banks to risk blowing it up. Only the Russians are considered a threat. And just as the Russians learned and everyone since Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, & Alexander-the-Great learned in Afghanistan, “It don’t pay to mess with those shepherds!” Whole regiments of invaders have been swallowed up on mountain ledges & caves. And even if invaders succeed in perpetrating a Scorched Earth Policy, as sure as Spring brings the dandelions there will be an old snaggle-toothed ewe who was left for dead, became pregnant by Immaculate Conception, and brings forth twin lambs. And there will be a shepherd who survived the winter in those hills and will take care of that ewe and her lambs, and the nation is born again!

We entered Switzerland from Austria & Liechtenstein in the north-east, passed by Wolensee and the eastern end of Zurichersee, saw pea combines at work in the fields, and then began to see Swiss Weisse Alpenschaf (White Alpine Sheep). We toured Lucerne and around it’s lake called Vierwaldstattersee to spend the night at Vitznau.

Thursday morning we left the tour group and took a ferry boat back to Lucerne, stopping at numerous resort towns to pick up or discharge a passenger or two. Scenic farms on the mountainsides; the tractors in Switzerland are more the size of large garden tractors back home. They pull a small whirligig type of hayrake or hay rack. Much hay is cut by hand scythe, raked by hand, and forked by hand onto a wagon or hay truck. Hay looked bleached by rain, same as back home. Much hay is dried on small stacks around a teepee of poles. There are numerous small sheds in the lower hills for sheltering sheep & cattle. We did see square bales in Holland and round bales in northern Germany & France, but only loose hay in Switzerland until we got close to the French border.

There is no official Swiss language. They speak Sweitz-Deutch in the north, French in the west, Italian in the south. Romensch is spoken in the east, and since it is spoken no-where else, could be said to be a Swiss language. Most European elementary students learn German, English, French, and Dutch or Italian. Patricia said her native Dutch is sometimes called a throat disease, because it sounds like clearing the phlegm when they speak.

After buying our tickets and taking a quick photo stop at the famous Capell Brucke (Chapel Bridge) covered bridge with paintings inside, we boarded a public train to Interlaken. We could get off and on at any small towns along the route and did so at the woodcraft town of Brienz. Europass tickets can also be used on these trains, but not on the smaller private trains into the Alps.
To be concluded in the next issue.

WRITTEN BY Marian Miles Croel; Ionia, Michigan

On August 3rd, 1989, Russ and I left for Istanbul, Turkey. Our route was Detroit, New York, Zurich, Switzerland – Istanbul.
Our daughter, Angela, who had spent the month of July with us, and her two small children also left for Istanbul the same day on another airline carrier. In Turkey we were met by our Turkish son-in-law, Dr. Aziz Tayfun.

The trip took 22 hours, not all spent in the air. We arrived in mid-afternoon at the apartment of Aziz’s mother. Angela and the children arrived about 4 hours later – tired but happy to be reunited with their husband and father.

We wasted no time to begin sight-seeing, starting with Istanbul. The city was called Constantinople in 330 AD when it was declared the Capitol of the Roman Empire. Many beautiful palaces were built. In 413 AD a wall was built around the city. Most of that wall still stands.

Istanbul is on the continent of Europe and Asia. The two parts of the city are separated by the Bosphorus. The Bosphorus is a 19 mile long tributary of the Black Sea. At one end is the Black Sea and at the other is the Sea of Marmara, with currents flowing in both directions. Many beautiful summer homes are built along the banks.

Several beautiful palaces are open to the public. Built by Sultans with absolute power and unlimited money, they are unforgettable. On display were furnishings and dishes encrusted with jewels. Lots of diamonds, gold and silver were used in glassware – all on display behind glass.

The Mosques, loosely compared to our churches, are beautiful, too. Build centuries ago and still used for the practice of the Islam religion.

The call to prayer (a wail) is given five times daily. The faithful must wash their feet, hands, arms, and faces before prayer. One cleanses the body before cleansing the soul. Only the men enter the most sacred area. Women can pray but must go to the side or mezzanine, as they cannot go in with the men. The mosque has no furniture but the floor is covered with Turkish rugs. The prayer posture involves kneeling and putting the forehead on the floor. Some of the faithful have a permanent black circle on their foreheads. Their bible is the Koran. Central to their belief is Muhammad who is Allah’s Prophet and Allah is God. They recite “I believe there is no God but Allah. I believe that Muhammed is Allah’s prophet. There is no God but Allah”. They also recognize five prophets preceeding Muhammed: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.

The Covered Bazaar is not to be missed. Built in 1461 there are 5,000 stalls, or vendors. There were rugs, antiques, gold, silver, leather goods, copper, brass – endless objects. One could easily get lost. We bought souvenirs after bargaining with vendors.
Turkey has undergone some major reforms over the years. The person responsible was Ataturk, who laid the foundation for the Turkish Republic. Ataturk introduced reforms such as the Gregorian calendar, monogamy, Sunday as a holiday and voting rights for women. Ataturk was president of Turkey from 1928 until his death ten years later. He is revered by the Turks, as the person who has done the most for the advancement of Turkey.

Unlike the USA, Turkish vehicles do not use unleaded gas nor do vehicles have emission controls or catalytic converters. I was also aware there are more cigarette smokers there. They don’t seem to share our concerns about health problems.
After a week of daily sight-seeing Aziz, Russ and I left by night-bus for an eight hour trip to South Western Turkey. One day ahead of the rest of the family. Our destination was Ephesus. Aziz had been there several times before and would act as guide.
From Selsic we took a taxi to the Mother Mary House near Ephesus, believed to be the house where Mary, the Mother of Jesus, spent the latter years of her life with John. In the New Testament book of John, chapter 19 verses 25 to 27 Jesus charged John with His mother’s care. The house is a small brick building of two rooms with an altar, where people light candles and stop to pray. The past 100 years there have been regular pilgrimages to the house. In more recent years Pope Paul VII and Pope John Paul ** have visited this special spot. From Mary’s house we taxied to Ephesus. In the south it was about 90 degrees. About 10 degrees hotter than Istanbul. Ephesus probably was once about the size of Ionia. It was a principle port on the Aegean Sea. Build before the 10 century Paul traveled and preached there many times after his conversion to Christianity. I got goose pimples thinking I might be standing in the same spot where Paul stood to tell the Ephesians about Jesus. Over the centuries the Sea has filled in until Ephesus is about six miles from the water. Beautiful statuary still remains there also a long marble street and remnants of buildings.

A theater which seated 24,000 people still remains. Excavation is constant and ongoing. Hope we can go back in a couple more years.

We next taxied to Kusadasi where we met Angela and the children, Aziz’s mother and sister. They rode all day by bus to meet us at a ship where we had a reservation for an 8-day cruise.

After dinner our ship left port. Our state rooms were very hot. Not much air-conditioning in Turkey. The ship stayed close to the Turkish border. The Greek Islands are very close to Turkey and the ship was required to stay within its territorial limits. The Turks and the Greeks don’t always see “eye to eye”.

Our ship stopped daily for swimming once we got in the beautiful blue Mediterranean. Our two grandchildren, five year old Ayshe, and one year old Aylin both loved it. The water was calm and the daily temperature was in the 90s. Swimming seems to be the national sport. Everyone swam, except me.

The ship would tie-up and a launch would come out from the villages to take us ashore. Some of the villages were 2,500 years old. Building 400 to 500 years old were still in use. We loved roaming the narrow cobblestone streets looking for souvenir bargains. Sometimes a bus would pick us up to take us up a mountainside to view ancient tombs which were burial sites of past rulers and kings. Every day we went ashore to view some antiquity that we would never see any other place in the world.
Our ship destination was Antalya, the second largest city in Turkey. Upon arrival there in the early morning we had breakfast then the launch picked us up to go to a museum where various statuary, art and antique costumes were on display. The workmanship on all was beautiful.

Back at the ship we packed up for our all-night bus ride back north to Istanbul. About 6:00 am our bus stopped for breakfast. Turkish breakfasts are: two kinds of olives, two kinds of cheese, bread and tea. Coffee and preserves were also available for foreigners like us. Bread was especially good. Baked several times a day, fresh bread was always available. Since I’m talking about food I should say most everything we ate was different or uncommon for us. Lots of eggplant dishes, zucchini combinations, all using garlic and/or oregano. Oven cooking is very uncommon. Pies, cakes, and cookies are almost unheard of. Fresh fruits and vegetables were abundant and excellent. Lambe was the most often used meat. Russ especially enjoyed the foods – he likes everything.

Back in Istanbul Angela wanted me to make an American breakfast for our Turkish family and friends. Our last full day there I stirred up a big batch of pancake batter and also made maple-flavored syrup. The necessary baking powder had been bought special and was sold by the tablespoonful and put in a plastic bag. The maple flavoring Angela purchased here and took with her in anticipation of a pancake breakfast. Everyone seemed to enjoy the food, especially our two granddaughters.

On August 24th we started our flight home. We had to be at the airport by 6:00 am. After many security checks, scans and questions we were cleared for boarding. It was sad to say goodby to Angela and Aziz. We had said goodby to our grandchildren and Aziz’s family the night before.

Angela, Aziz, and girls would stay one more week before returning to Kuwait to begin their ninth year there. Aziz to Kuwait University where he is a Professor in the Engineering Department. Angela back to her job as a Certified Records Manager and Ayshe to begin kindergarten at the American School in Kuwait.

Every flight we took was late so it was inevitable we would miss some of our connecting flights. Our arrival in New York was so late we missed boarding for Detroit where our son Danon was waiting for us. The next flight was five hours later. A long wait for all of us. Pan Am was never on time but they got us there and back without incident and without losing any of our luggage so we can’t complain. There’s so much we didn’t see – we can’t wait to go back. (End)



Last update November 15, 2013